What is happening to women and girls in Afghanistan this week is a tragedy. In order for our kids of all genders to care about these events and lead us toward a better, more hopeful future, they first must know about what is happening, process it (especially the inequitable impact on women and girls), and be given the space for an emotional response.
Three questions to ask your kids about what is happening in Afghanistan:
1. Should we look together at where Afghanistan is in the world?
This question normalizes not knowing everything, while building the practice of finding out the geographic context of global events. This is especially important for girls who believe their value comes from perfectionism and that they should already know everything.
2. How is Taliban control different for boys and men versus girls and women?
When the Taliban were last in control, the power of girls and women was controlled by taking away freedoms, such as the basic right to walk alone or drive or choose if you want to marry or have children, education, and careers. “Women in Afghanistan are the most at danger or most at-risk population of the country,” said Fawzia Koofi, a women’s rights activist and former lawmaker.
3. How do you feel about the change that has happened in Afghanistan, almost overnight?
Many kids, but especially girls, are never taught the positive value of anger or rage. Because of the social reward for feeling happy, content, and calm, girls learn to suppress such difficult feelings. This moment of understanding and connecting to the reality of what is happening to women and girls in Afghanistan is an opportunity to model for our kids that feeling enraged, sad, or angry is not only okay, it is important. Those are the feelings that fuel us to speak up, take action, or donate to organizations who can support people at risk.